Petrel Play Sea Trials

Well, my newly built Play is now in sea trials and I’m thrilled with my new kayak. The composite long boats are sold off, and this is my new ride. I could no longer comfortably lift the heavy Brit boats and their like and nor could the roof of my Chevy HHR support them. So, the Play weighs in at 37 1/2 pounds. Not super light but not heavy. It is ideally suited to the kind of paddling available just off-shore southeast CT in the point breaks and tidal races. And, it is fairly fast for a 14 foot by 23 inch wide kayak with its long water line. My legs are long and my seat needs to be a bit further forward than I would like for the best trim (to get good lay back on rolls), so it would need a skeg. I’m mounting a permanent skeg which should do the trick. By the way, it rolls wonderfully well.

I built the CLC kit in a version which does not have the recessed hatches - in the interest of weight. Construction blunders on my part and inexperience as a woodworker likely cost me an extra pound or two. The hull/deck panels are in the Schade (boat’s designer) tradition of puzzle pieces and were stained prior to stitching them together. No rough water shots yet, but attached are a few from her maiden voyage (mostly with Nick paddling). I had a nice entry to the water down a snow chute.

At my stage of life, it works for me. I don’t need an expedition boat. What I have is a tough surfing play boat for day use that can keep up with the long boat pod. Let the games begin.


Really sweet!
Congratulations. I really like that design. The recessed hatches are something I’ve tried to figure out, for previous builds. Was about to ask if there was more info on kit availability, but checked out the CLC page, my own self:

Compared to ???
Thanks for posting! I’ve been thinking about building a Petrel myself some day and now the Play is out in an easier to build stitch and glue form…

Any chance you can compare the Play with some off-the-shelf boats such as WS Zephyr or P&H Delphin? The lower weight of the home made is really appealing to me lately but I’ve grown quite found of the way the Delphin handles and how maneuverable it is. A custom SoF might be an option too, but I have not seen a design that I like for river/currents play, yet, and I would need to design myself…

A comparo would be good
I’ve been planning to buy a Dagger Alchemy for a while. Occasionally, I think I might like to try and Eddyline Samba. Also, with boats of this type, one may wish to heap more abuse on them than we’d like to inflict on a nice wooden boat.

Yeah, the Samba would be a good

– Last Updated: Feb-19-13 10:23 AM EST –

comparison to do. Short and light. Same for the Alchemy...

Yes, a wood boat would require regular maintenance if used hard (scraes that penetrate the outside finish should be fixed). But that's a known problem, plus the bottom can be reinforced enough to minimize the need to constantly touch-up...

I'm less than an hour away from the CLC shop so, if/when they make a Play I can probably try it out on the water to figure it out for myself. But always nice to know what others think too :)

“Benefits” Of A New Boat…

– Last Updated: Feb-19-13 12:59 PM EST –

Hey Carl,

Never seen you look as young as you did in that second set of photos... ;)

Maybe I should take your cue. A new waveski may give me back another 20 years. :)

Happy rough water adventures to you.


Ok. I seem to be mixing pics of you and Nick. Seal launch... YeeHaw! :)

Feel rejuvenated - that’s about it
Hello Sing,

Yes, mixed some pix. With a light multi-purpose boat there is a sense of renewal for me in reordering how I approach and get on the water. I was going out very little with the heavy boats and losing my edge for high end paddling and starting to avoid that. Nasty cycle. Oddly, after my convalescence for the worst part of the back stuff, I picked up right where I left off in the Mega Cyclone. I haven’t mixed it up with anything over 8-10 feet and avoid dropping off the back side of high fast movers - never good for disk preservation.

A couple more pics from a third sea trial today. taken by Dave Grainger.

For other posters, I have some experience with another 14 footer, the Looksha Sport. No comparison with my spritely Wave Weasel. My Night Heron got a lot of abuse to the hull and needed a re-varnish every couple of years. Not as impervious as a poly boat, but tougher than you might think and lot easier to fix.


Just have to say the boat came out great! Quite jealous over here. I have no experience in a wood boat but they always just look absolutely sleek in the water. I became spoiled in my WS Tempest with the phase 3 seating that I worry about stepping into a boat like that and how comfortable my back would be. How many hours would you say you can spend in the boat before it begins to be uncomfortable?

Love that first shot. Really shows off the lines. For me, the flat front deck has taken some getting used to. I imagine there’s plenty of foot room.

dang-good looking boat!
Nice work!

Time to back pain?
My endurance in the boat with respect to time to back pain is as yet undetermined. For myself, the more straight out my legs are, the worse off I am. So, I like the 23 inch breadth which gets my thighs splayed a bit more. Next, it helps me to feel snug in the boat - especially at the thigh braces and low back. The nice thing about building your boat is that all aspects impacting the low back: foot bracing, thigh bracing, seat (with thigh support), angle of seat, and back support are all created by the builder and easily modified until the final glue-down. My longest time in the Play is about an hour and forty five minutes and not a peep from my disk. A few of us will have our Plays at Nick Schade’s Meet at the Beach in early June at Bluff Point in Groton, CT. Come and try.

Appreciate the kind word on the build.


I wish they’d include that metric in the

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specs, I could use it. They could just use "TBP" and express it in hours.

Hi Carl. Thought I posted this question last night but I don’t see it. Nice job on the boat. I like your idea of foregoing the hatches to save weight. How do you access the bow and stern compartments? “Deck” plates in the bulkheads? Tha

Carl installed one screw in hatch (Beckson type) on the back deck, instead of the heavier KayakSport hatches (front and back) that are being installed on the other two Petrel Plays built in the class. We (the other two builders) are also installing drop skegs, while Carl is using an externally attached fin skeg. All of Carl’s choices will result in a lighter kayak.

The other two Plays are not yet finished, so there are no completion pics. Carl also applied the attractive paint scheme shown, while we are using the more bland “varnish over clear epoxy” commonly seen. Guess we are both slower than Carl and more bland.


Are you two Petrel Play + skeg guys building from the pre-cut skeg parts that are apparently provided normally with the longer Petrel S&G? Or, using a pre-fab skeg, or designing your own? I’m interested in the pieces from the longer kit, and what type of hardware is included.

I built a skeg from scratch on my last build. The hardest part was coming up with the right set of parts, and figuring out exactly how to use and abuse them.

Thanks Dave. How about the bow? Did he leave out the front bulkhead and make a floatbag?

Thanks Dave. How about the bow? Did he leave out the front bulkhead and make a floatbag?

Forward compartment
Sorry for delay, just picked up the thread.

I finally placed plywood fore and aft for bulkheads. Took a lot of time and effort. I first considered placing two 3 meter boat stern bags in the bow and closing them in with a removable foam bulkhead about 2 inches thick to serve as a stopper to prevent area around bags filling in case of a swim. I abandoned that idea in favor of placing the ply bulkhead. At first, I thought of putting a tube along the sheer inside for drainage, but that lost out to installing a 4 inch Beckson deck plate in the center of the ply bulkhead and drilling a small hole up top for pressure relief. I was able to slather some resin/wood flour mix around the margin on the forward side perimeter of the bulkhead and glassed in the more accessible aft side as thoroughly as I could with 6 oz tape. Reaching long, I can just get a sponge into the forward compartment and could insert a float bag, if I so chose. This operation cost me a lot of weight.

The rear 8 inch deck plate functions very well. If I decide my permanent skeglet does not function as well as I would like, I have access to put in a skeg box.

In 15 kt winds, it has done well to foil weathercocking.

drop skegs in Play

Paul installed a used Impex skeg he was able to pick up. I installed a ONNO skeg that I had bought for another kayak. We have both had to make skeg control boxes as the ones supplied were too shallow. We are in the process of making them.

If you’re looking to buy one, the kayakSport skeg kit looks good and is fairly priced at $100 complete.


Great info!
Thanks Carl and Dave for the great pics and super helpful info. I’d posted earlier this winter about needing a lighter boat (neck issues) and Dave wrote in to recommend checking out the Petrel Play. What a beautiful build!

I’ve been keeping an eye on the boards (and will continue) for comments; this is great timing as I’ll be able to see a Petrel Play, at least, at Canoecopia in a little more than a week. As I understand it a CLC staff member (someone, at any rate) will actually be building a PP in the booth.